The ideas are becoming young and the entrepreneurs younger. You must have googled, quora’d, reddit’d before you stumbled on this article. “Shall I do a job first? But I’ve a great idea!” “Shall I start-up? But I want experience!”
The truth is, there is no one black or white answer.
Zuckerberg’s Facebook or Jobs’ Apple seem pretty thrilling and lucrative when you take two ends of the thread. College dropouts – big dreams – bigger companies. But we all have been warned of those zillion start-up failures and their broke founders. More often than not, it is about your drive and your belief in your ideas. Following the herd or doing it just because it makes you cool or rich are pretty shallow reasons to begin a start-up. It’s important to realize that one needs to conceptualize an idea which is a dire need of the society. Don’t circle a tiny problem around your idea of a starting up. Do the vice-versa. As Mark Zuckerberg puts it,
“The problem is trying to build a company that solves a tangible problem. The most interesting thing is to operate on something fundamental on how humans (live). It was fundamental for me. I felt this need really acutely. I wanted this.”
Dig deep, research at all levels and analyze it from an audience’s point of view: are YOU solving their problems?
Ideas can creep in any time. One could jolt you on a random night or could hit you hard after an exhaustive brain storming session. But when it comes to implementing them, it’s important to know where you’re coming from. Your education, family and financial background – fortunately or unfortunately – play a very important role in turning your ideas into reality. Kunal Gandhi, co-founder of WLS Global services, started working with his partner on his ideas right when he was in college. What helped him was excellent exposure to entrepreneurship programs, and being the team head of his college’s business incubator. They worked on their venture independently till they were at a break-even point, after which their family supported them financially for future investment. He’s 22 and even though he got a juicy placement at Mu Sigma, he was passionate enough to do what he believes in.
“They say I am so young; how can I take such a risk? I say I am so young and maybe that’s why it’s easier to take such a risk. I am not losing anything. If nothing else, I am gaining an invaluable experience.”
In India, our lives are put on to a fast track. Starting young at least weighs off the baggage of responsibilities. Once you’re caught up in the cycle, it’s tough to break free. Book pad, Grey Orange Robotics, Taxi4sure are other great brands who were planted by college graduates.
Ideas, hard work and passion don’t come with age. They come via your drive and conviction.
However, experience is one thing which comes with time. So if you did not have sufficient exposure in the entrepreneurial arena or the industry which you want to venture into, things could end up messy. Remove a business background, a supportive family or even a promising business partner, and things get a little more chaotic. If you prefer not to be a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’ and are looking for a specific specialized industry, it’d be a better option to hold off for a while, build your skills in an apprenticeship environment and gain expertise via mentor-ship before you venture out single-handedly. Pranay Chutlet, founder of India’s leading online classified, worked in a slew of MNC’s like Procter & Gamble, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Booz Allen Hamilton before starting-up Quikr in 2008.
For good or not, the start-up scene today is revolutionizing like never before.
Up until 2005, entrepreneurs like Deep Kalra of makemytrip.com were coming from diversified sectors of foreign lands and made strategic acquisitions to strengthen footholds. By 2010, budding entrepreneurs in their early thirties were coming from pedigreed grounds of IIMs with experience from esteemed MNCs. The man behind Myntra, Mukesh Bansal, belongs to this era. Today, in 2015, we are in yet another era where crazy ideas are booming right on college campuses. Ritesh Agrawal’s college drop-out story is well known. This 22-year-old is stealing the limelight with the attention of top tech investors like Peter Thiel, Lightspeed and Sequoia Capital.
It’s pretty apparent that both sides of the stream are as muddy and as green as the other. Which side would tick you, depends on the boat you’re sailing on. More importantly, it’s about the place you’re coming from and greatly the place where you’d want to be. Also, you cannot afford to ignore the detrimental evolving scenarios in the world. The key is Research, Research,